Before you even start to read this review, take a gander at the talent that is listed to the left. Good director, good actors. So good, in fact, that I cannot recall a film with so much talent that falls apart as fast as Dreamcatcher does.
The story starts out promisingly enough. Four lifelong friends, Beaver (Lee), Jonesy (Lewis), Henry (Thomas Jane), and Pete (Timothy Olyphant) plan a getaway trip to a cabin in the snowy mountains. Jonesy was recently injured in an accident, so the trip is to serve as some serious R&R for him. Upon reaching their cabin, the group soon learns of an imminent alien danger from a stranger whom they find wandering aimlessly in the wilderness. The story delves deeper with the introduction of Duddits, a friend the guys have had since they rescued him from bullies as a child. They have always believed that Duddits is not of a human life form, but rather an alien one.
As children, the five boys had the power to communicate telepathically, meaning speaking to eachother through their thoughts. As grown men, they ponder whether or not they were given the gift for the very reason of an alien invasion.
Based on the Stephen King novel (which I have not read), Dreamcatcher starts off as an interesting psychological thriller then quickly plummets to the depths of monster movie hell. Had director Kasdan and company ran with the telepathic idea, we may have really had something here. Instead, we get more dumb aliens, more dumb government officials, and a ridiculous manner in which people harbor alien life forms (you’ll know what I mean if you see the film). The 180 this movie pulls is depressing.
But, that’s not to say the whole movie is awful. Since they ran with the alien idea, I must say that the aliens and special effects do look superb. For that matter, this film has some of the most impressive scenery andeffects that I have seen recently. Shame it is all used to run the story into the ground.
As for the acting, it is really quite good. Those looking for a grandiose showing by Morgan Freeman had best look elsewhere. He enters the film at around the 45 minute mark, and is only used to bark orders and act like every other hotshot military Colonel we see at the movies. Tom Sizemore delivers a brief, but effective performance. Damian Lewis is the standout performance in the film, and he proves he can play a bit of a range of characters.
Like so many Hollywood films made today, Dreamcatcher started off promisingly and quickly resorted to formula. Those looking for a stomach-turning alien film may be pleased, but those looking for a smarter psychological thriller will be sorely disappointed.
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
Length: 136 Minutes
Rating: R for violence, gore, and language.
Theatrical Release: March 21, 2003
Directed by: Lawrence Kasdan
Written by: William Goldman & Lawrence Kasdan. Based upon the novel by Stephen King.
Cast: Morgan Freeman, Thomas Jane, Jason Lee, Damian Lewis, Timothy Olyphant, Tom Sizemore